Johnson & Johnson wins global rights to Benecol

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HELSINKI -- Finnish foods multinational Raisio Group has signed a letter of intent to hand the worldwide marketing of its cholesterol-reducing spread Benecol over to Johnson & Johnson.

The agreement comes three months after a deal between the two giving Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer Products the right to the Benecol patents and trademark in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This latest move represents a tightening of the cooperation between the two companies.

Raisio expects to earn $300 million to $400 million from Johnson & Johnson for relinquishing patent rights and trademarks to Benecol in 1998.

McNeil is planning a countrywide launch of Benecol on the U.S. market during the first quarter of 1998, to be followed by market launches in Mexico and Canada in the second half year period.

"The letter of intent anticipates an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to make Benecol available worldwide, with Europe, Japan and North America becoming key markets for the product," says Raisio Product Development Director Tor Bergman.

According to Mr. Bergman, selecting Johnson & Johnson as the company's global partner was a natural choice. "J&J has a worldwide marketing presence and competence. It is the world's largest healthcare group and we are very fortunate to have them on board as a partner," he says.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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